The National Association of Realtor’s Home Price Monitor is a monthly review of several respected measurements of house values. The monitor tracks trends and fluctuations in prices and provides an analysis of the current environment, as well as a forecast for future price performance. April’s report finds most measurements showing month-over-month growth in prices and a trend toward smaller year-over-year declines. These stabilizing trends should be supported by low inventory, declining delinquencies, and growing demand from prospective buyers. The report also cites high affordability, an improving job market, and rising rent as evidence that positive trends in home prices will continue. More here.
According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales rose 4.1 percent in March and are 12.8 percent above year-before levels. Pending sales, which reflect contract signings but not closings, are now at their highest level since April 2010. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said first-quarter sales data shows that it was the best first quarter in five years and, based on contract signings, the second quarter should be equally good. Regionally, pending sales were highest in the West and the South. The South was up 5.9 percent from February and the West rose 8.7 percent. All regions increased from last year, with the Midwest up 16.9 percent and the Northeast 21.1 percent above March 2011. According to Yun, 2012 will be a year of recovery for the housing market. More here.
CoreLogic’s MarketPulse report comes out monthly and provides analysis of the current and future economic climate and, in particular, the housing and mortgage markets. In their April report, CoreLogic’s chief economist Market Fleming and senior economist Sam Khater say now is a good time to buy a home due to record high housing affordability. According to Fleming, affordability is at twice the level it was in April 2006, at peak house price levels, making now the best time to buy a home in decades. The report also notes that many key indicators of the housing market’s health have held steady through the typically slow winter season. More here.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, demand for loans to purchase homes increased 2.7 percent from the previous week. But despite the gains, total mortgage loan application volume fell 3.8 percent due to a drop in refinance activity, which slowed after surging the week before. The four-week moving average for the Market Index, which covers both refinance and purchase activity, is up 1.23 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.04 percent from 4.05 percent the week before. It is the lowest 30-year rate recorded in the history of the Mortgage Bankers’ survey. More here.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New Residential Sales Report for March 2012 shows that sales of new single-family homes are up 7.5 percent over the previous year’s pace. According to the report, new home sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000, which is 7.1 percent below February’s revised rate of 353,000 but a significant improvement over last March’s estimate of 305,000. February’s estimate was revised up from an originally reported 313,000, making that month’s sales pace the fastest since November 2009. Also, the median sales price of new houses sold during the month was $234,500; the average sales price was $291,200. At the current sales pace, there was a 5.3 month supply of new homes available for sale at the end of March. More here.